GREAT RIVER ROAD - driving North East Victoria and the Southern Riverina
Great River Road a great drive
C546, or the Great River Road, is one of Australia’s great drivers' and riders’ roads.
It is a cracker.
It snakes its way almost its entire 156 kilometre length from Albury-Wodonga to Corryong following the route of the Murray River which separates New South Wales from Victoria.
The last six kilometres into Corryong is known as the Murray Valley Highway and if one is keen to continue his or her drive or ride in a different direction, there is the option of returning to Albury-Wodonga via the highway.
As the course of the river meanders through the Upper Murray, so too does the Great (formerly Murray) River Road, with plenty of slow in, fast out corners, winding bends, tight curves, crests, flat straights, and several causeways.
There are not too many hilly sections, but there are some blind corners and in sections, especially where the road runs adjacent to the Mount Lawson State Park, it becomes narrow, with a drop to the river on one side and rock face on the other.
Drivers and riders should take extreme care along this section.
From Albury-Wodonga you follow the Riverina Highway to the Bethanga Bridge (pictured above) which spans Lake Hume.
This impressive and historic nine span bridge was built between 1927 and 1930 and is the only permanent crossing place between New South Wales and Victoria until 91 kilometres upstream at Jingellic.
Once across the bridge the road veers left, and it becomes windy for about 15 kilometres.
Just east of this section is the Wymah ferry which takes vehicular traffic across the Murray arm of the lake.
At the 50 kilometre mark is the Granya Road turnoff which climbs through the Mount Granya State Park to join the Murray Valley Highway at Bullioh.
The Murray River Road continues through picturesque farming countryside and the rural communities of Burrowye and Guys Forest to the Jingellic turnoff.
The small town on the New South Wales side of the river has a general store, a camping ground and the historic Bridge Hotel, a popular stopover for those touring the Upper Murray.
A couple of kilometres further along is the Upper Murray Resort.
Walwa is the main town on the road before you reach Corryong.
This busy little town, which sits close to the Murray River, includes a general store, fuel supply, medical centre, a caravan park, pub, tennis courts and a golf course.
The town is also close to Pine Mountain which is in the Burrowa-Pine Mountain National Park.
Pine Mountain is the largest monolith in the southern hemisphere at 1.5 times the size of Uluru (Ayres Rock).
A further 29 kilometres is the historic township of Tintaldra where you can glean some amazing views of the distant Snowy Mountains.
The town has a great pub and a general store and there is plenty of fishing spots close handy.
Before your drive (or ride) finishes at Corryong, you pass the historic Towong Racecourse where scenes from the movie Phar Lap were filmed and where gangster Joseph ‘Squizzy’ Taylor once stole the takings.
The Towong Turf Club schedules one race meeting a year - the Towong Cup - which is attended by hundreds of racegoers.
Towong is the western gateway to the Kosciusko National Park.
From Towong the Murray Valley Highway takes you to Corryong, the heart of The Man from Snowy River country.
The Murray River Road is sealed for its entire length, does become narrow in parts, and is caravan friendly.
Distance Albury to Corryong: 156 kilometres
Driving time (non-stop): 1hr 56min
Towns along the way: Bethanga, Talgarno, Granya, Jingellic, Walwa, Tintaldra, Tawong